As in the past, I am posting this information to ensure, first and foremost, safety when conducting your training dives and second, awareness of risk management where Standards are noted. I know that information regarding changes is not always shared and communicated in a timely fashion.
Ensure you have your own copy of the PADI Ice Diver Specialty Instructor Guide in order to teach the course and make sure you are meeting all the requirements (as an assistant you should be able to confirm the information you are being given is correct). Just to be sure - a number of changes were made in 2015, so your Instructor Guide should reflect the most current version.
The following are just a few highlights (introduced in 2015) as well as some reminders of the specific ratios related to ice diving to be aware of when planning your course and, if you are the student, taking your course:
- Certified Assistant (Dive Master, Assistant Instructor, Instructor) – now needs to be a certified ice diver, with ice diving rescue experience (optional fourth dive recommended)
- Instructor – now needs to be a certified ice diver (in the past the instructor could have done a direct entry application based on completion of dives without having taken a Specialty Ice Instructor Course.)
- Student divers must now be PADI Rescue Divers prior to Ice Dive Four. Ice Dive Four adapts rescue diver skills to the ice diving environment.
- Dive 1 changed from direct supervision by either the course instructor or certified assistant to direct supervision by the course instructor.
- Dives 2, 3 and 4 remain direct supervision by either the course instructor or certified assistant.
- Instructors are prompted to assess diver readiness for later dives and certified assistant readiness for direct supervision.
Safety diver roles have been changed:
- Safety divers must now be certified ice divers, preferably with rescue skills and with the Ice Dive Four recommended. Previously student divers could play this role, but this meant they may need to perform a rescue before they have learned the skills to do so.
- Safety divers must also now dive in pairs. Previously this was not a standard.
- Safety divers no longer need to have dive equipment on and ready to go in the water, which is a useful change in extremely cold surface conditions. They now need to have their kit ready to go and be able to respond immediately. This allows them to seek shelter and stay warm.
- New skill – Out of air ascent practiced in 3-6m/10-20ft, directly under the ice hole. Purpose is for divers to practice this during training due to slight differences in techniques and to experience the dexterity challenges of simple skills when cold. Practicing under the ice hole allows diver to ascent directly, just in case there is a free flow.
Dives and Hours:
- The PADI Ice Diver course includes three required open water dives, and one optional dive. If all four dives are completed the course will be conducted over at least two days. If three dives are planned on one day, in addition to meeting General Standards and Procedures for Open Water Dives, ensure dives are planned within the following parameters:
- If student divers have participated in confined water training that day, they may complete no more than two open water dives.
- The maximum depth for the third dive is 12 metres/40 feet.
- Completing three dives in one day is at the discretion of both the student diver and instructor. Take into consideration all factors before planning a third dive for the day including:
- Task loading of student divers
- Diver stamina, ability and comfort
- A minimum surface interval of one hour between each dive, with adequate time to rest and prepare for the next dive
- Adequate student diver rewarming between and after dives.
- Diver interest, willingness and motivation to participate
- Adherence to safe diving practices
- Residual nitrogen
- Environmental conditions
The minimum number of recommended hours is 24.
I hope you find this information of interest and assistance. If I can assist further, please don't hesitate to contact me. Dive Safe and stay Warm!